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Archive for 5. März 2016

Ökonom: „Flüchtlinge nicht anders als Einheimische behandeln“

Posted by hkarner - 5. März 2016

Interview Simon Moser, 5. März 2016, 10:00 derstandard.at

Bofinger Deutschland hat im vergangenen Jahr den Mindestlohn eingeführt. Peter Bofinger (im Bild rechts) über die Motive hinter der Einführung – und ihren Erfolg

STANDARD: Trotz Niedrigzinsen kommt die Konjunktur in der Eurozone nicht in Schwung. Ein Alarmzeichen oder Jammern auf hohem Niveau?

Bofinger: Ich glaube wir erleben eine Art Krise des Kapitalismus. Sie lässt sich darauf zurückführen, dass sich die Einkommen zunehmend ungleich entwickelt haben. Das Geld landet bei denen, die schon viel haben, die das Geld einfach bunkern. Dadurch fehlt die Nachfrage und jene, bei denen das Geld gelandet ist, haben keinen Anreiz zu investieren.

STANDARD: Ein Problem der Eurozone war lange die Lohnzurückhaltung in Deutschland. Die Krisenländer waren dadurch noch weniger wettbewerbsfähig als ohnehin, weil sie im Vergleich zu Deutschland immer teurer produzierten.

Bofinger: Extrem war die deutsche Lohnzurückhaltung bis 2007. Seitdem versuchen die Länder mit Problemen, über Lohnzurückhaltung wettbewerbsfähiger zu werden. Aber das gelingt nicht wirklich, weil die Lohnstückkosten in Deutschland nur um knapp zwei Prozent pro Jahr steigen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Hypo-Desaster: Herr Schelling, schneiden Sie!

Posted by hkarner - 5. März 2016

04.03.2016 | 18:24 | Josef Urschitz (Die Presse)urschitz

Wenn ohnehin alles beim Steuerzahler bleibt, ist der Schnitt eine Option.

Die Gans ist also noch nicht knusprig genug: Selbst das stark verbesserte Angebot der Republik an die Heta-Gläubiger findet bei den deutschen Anleihehaltern keinen Gefallen. Man versteht das: Es trifft ja keine Reichen. Die Deutsche Bank etwa, deren Vermögensverwaltungsgesellschaft abgelehnt hat, ist durch ihre geschickte Geschäftspolitik an der Börse gerade noch ein bisschen mehr wert, als der voraussichtliche Hypo-Gesamtschaden ausmacht. Da braucht man jeden Cent.

Aber irgendwann muss Schluss sein mit dem Bankensozialismus: Wenn es den Gläubigern tatsächlich gelingt, per Laufzeitverkürzung noch einmal zehn Prozentpunkte herauszuholen, dann bleibt de facto ohnehin alles beim hiesigen Steuerzahler hängen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Donald Trump’s Message

Posted by hkarner - 5. März 2016

Photo of Joseph S. Nye

Joseph S. Nye

Joseph S. Nye, Jr., a former US assistant secretary of defense and chairman of the US National Intelligence Council, is University Professor at Harvard University. He is the author of  Is the American Century Over?

MAR 4, 2016, Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Donald Trump’s lead in the race for the Republican Party’s nomination as its presidential candidate in November has caused consternation. The Republican establishment fears he will not be able to defeat Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee. But some observers worry more about the prospect of a Trump presidency. Some even see Trump as a potential American Mussolini.

Whatever its problems, the United States today is not like Italy in 1922. The Constitution’s institutional checks and balances, together with an impartial legal system, are likely to constrain even a reality-TV showman. The real danger is not that Trump will do what he says if he reaches the White House, but the damage caused by what he says as he tries to get there.

Leaders are judged not only on the effectiveness of their decisions, but also by the meaning that they create and teach to their followers. Most leaders gain support by appealing to the existing identity and solidarity of their groups. But great leaders educate their followers about the world beyond their immediate group.

After World War II, during which Germany had invaded France for the third time in 70 years, the French leader Jean Monnet decided that revenge upon a defeated Germany would produce yet another tragedy. Instead, he invented a plan for the gradual development of the institutions that evolved into the European Union, which has helped make such a war unthinkable.

Or, to take another example of great leadership, Nelson Mandela could easily have chosen to define his group as black South Africans and sought revenge for the injustice of decades of apartheid and his own imprisonment. Instead, he worked tirelessly to expand the identity of his followers both by words and deeds.

In one famous symbolic gesture, he appeared at a rugby game wearing the jersey of the South African Springboks, a team that had previously signified South African white supremacy. Contrast Mandela’s efforts to teach his followers about a broader identity with the narrow approach taken by Robert Mugabe next door in Zimbabwe. Unlike Mandela, Mugabe used colonial-era grievances to build support, and now is relying on force to remain in power.

In the US today, while the economy is growing and the unemployment rate is at a low 4.9%, many feel excluded from the country’s prosperity. Many blame rising inequality over the past few decades on foreigners, rather than technology, and it is easy to rally opposition both to immigration and globalization. In addition to economic populism, a significant minority of the population also feels threatened by cultural changes related to race, culture, and ethnicity, even though much of this is not new.

The next president will have to educate Americans about how to deal with a globalization process that many find threatening. National identities are imagined communities in the sense that few people have direct experience of the other members. For the past century or two, the nation-state has been the imagined community that people are willing to die for, and most leaders have regarded their primary obligations to be national. This is inescapable, but it is not enough in a globalizing world.

In a world of globalization, many people belong to a number of imagined communities – local, regional, national, cosmopolitan – that are overlapping circles sustained by the Internet and inexpensive travel. Diasporas are now connected across national borders. Professional groups like lawyers have transnational standards. Activist groups ranging from environmentalists to terrorists also connect across borders. Sovereignty is no longer as absolute as it once seemed.

Former President Bill Clinton has said that he regrets his failure to respond adequately to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, although he was not alone. Had Clinton tried to send US troops, he would have encountered stiff resistance in Congress. Good leaders today are often caught between their cosmopolitan inclinations and their more traditional obligations to the people who elect them – as German Chancellor Angela Merkel has discovered in the wake of her brave leadership on the refugee crisis last summer.

In a world in which people are organized primarily in national communities, a purely cosmopolitan ideal is unrealistic. We see this in widespread resistance to acceptance of immigration. For a leader to say there is an obligation to equalize incomes globally is not a credible obligation, but to say that more should be done to reduce poverty and disease and help those in need can help to educate followers.

Words matter. As the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah puts it, “Thou shalt not kill is a test you take pass-fail. Honor thy father and thy mother admits of gradations.” The same is true of cosmopolitanism versus insularity.

As the world watches the US presidential candidates wrestle with issues of protectionism, immigration, global public health, climate change, and international cooperation, we should ask what aspect of American identities they are appealing to and whether they are educating followers about broader meanings. Are they stretching Americans’ sense of identity as best they can or just appealing to their narrowest interests?

Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from entering the US and his demands that Mexico pay for a wall to stop migration would be unlikely to pass constitutional or political muster were he elected President. Then again, many of his proposals are not policies designed to be implemented, but slogans crafted to appeal to an insular populist mood among a segment of the population.

Given his lack of a strong ideological core and his celebration of “the art of the deal,” Trump might even prove to be a pragmatic president, despite his narcissism. But good leaders help us define who we are. On that score, Trump has already failed.

Read more at https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/donald-trump-parochial-appeal-by-joseph-s-nye-2016-03#y3qmlgMVBEhXgDcg.99

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Refugee Subsidies Must Be Controlled!

Posted by hkarner - 5. März 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016, Observing Greece Kastner

As Greece can look forward to (well-deserved!) financial support from the EU to handle the refugee crisis, an entirely new perspective opens up: whenever money flows in large amounts to provide help, the question is whether all that money ends up in the places where it is supposed to end up. It is no secret that a good portion of EU subsidies for Greece, particularly agricultural subsidies, ended up in the wrong pockets for the wrong purposes. The Greek government is now challenged to do everything possible to assure proper usage of the refugee subsidies.

If Sweden serves as an example, there are probably already many entrepreneurial Greeks who ponder how to get a portion of the cake. The immediate financial help is said to be 300 MEUR. Those 300 MEUR which the EU will transfer will transform into income on somebody’s part. One would think that it cannot be too difficult to trace and control the money which will be disbursed for proper application.

If Sweden serves as an example, one ought to be worried. As this article suggests, an entire private refugee support industry has developed in Sweden. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A history of investment shows how managers have prospered

Posted by hkarner - 5. März 2016

Date: 04-03-2016
Source: The Economist: Buttonwood
Subject: Living off the people

FOR as long as there have been organised economies, people have been employed to look after the wealth of others. More than 4,000 years ago landowners in Akkad, an early Mesopotamian civilisation, hired local managers to look after their farms.

investment a historyIn their new book, “Investment: A History”, Norton Reamer and Jesse Downing explain how the industry has changed over time. Their fundamental idea is that investment has become “democratised”, available to a wider range of individuals.

Early investment was conducted on behalf of the wealthy, often by individuals with low status—current or former slaves in the Roman Republic, for example. In the Biblical parable of the talents, a master entrusts his wealth to a range of servants. Two of the servants doubled the master’s money but the third buried it in the ground, rather than “investing it with the bankers”. For this failure, the poor performer was “cast into the outer darkness” where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Today’s clients might welcome the ability to add this penalty clause to their contracts.

Looking after the assets of the rich—or high-net-worth individuals, as they are known in the jargon—is still big business. But the fund-management industry’s growth has been turbocharged by the evolution of a much wider client base. In the rich world, most people have some money available for savings after they have paid for the necessities of food, clothing and shelter. With a retirement age of, in effect, around 65, they have two decades or so of old age to provide for. In America, retirement savings grew from $368 billion in 1974 to more than $22 trillion by 2014—a fivefold increase in assets relative to income. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why is Russia tapping international debt markets?

Posted by hkarner - 5. März 2016

Date: 04-03-2016
Source: The Economist
Subject: Russia and sanctions: Toe in the water

RUSSIA last issued a dollar-denominated bond in 2013. Since then it has annexed part of Ukraine, launched a proxy war in another bit and destabilised the rest. That prompted Western financial sanctions on Russia’s banks and oil firms. Its government, though, can still tap foreign debt markets. On March 1st the ministry of finance said it would appoint advisers this month to help it issue a $3 billion bond.

One explanation might be a need for foreign cash. As Russia’s recession has eased, the government’s cost of borrowing has fallen. It could be planning to filter the dollars to favoured companies. That would help firms struggling to service foreign debt thanks to sanctions and the halving of the value of the rouble since 2014. Alternatively, the government could use the money for itself. The budget assumes an oil price of $50 a barrel and a corresponding deficit of 3% of GDP in 2016. Now the oil price has crashed to $30, the deficit could reach 7% of GDP. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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